Hiking Pisew Falls to Kwasitchewan Falls has been my most enjoyable but also most challenging hike so far this season. I wish it was closer to the city because I would love to do it again with my Hikerbabes (7 hour drive just to get to the starting point isn’t really practical on a 2 day weekend). If you’re looking for a challenge or just want to check out Pisew Falls (which is a 5 minute walk from the parking lot), keep reading for some tips and to see some pictures of the falls (spoiler alert: the journey is worth the view).
May 19, 2018
We left Winnipeg early Saturday morning (around 5 a.m) and headed north, towards Thompson. The drive in total took us about 7 hours and we pulled into the parking lot around noon. Pisew Falls (which is the second biggest waterfall in Manitoba) is just an easy 5 minute walk on a boardwalk from the parking lot. We decided to check that one out first, to give us some motivation for the hike. There was still ice on the waterfall but if anything it added to the beauty of it all. We stuck around for a few minutes to enjoy the view and then headed on to the other side of the parking lot, where the trail for Kwasitchewan Falls started. The trail was not easy by any means. There were places where the trees were after falling down and you had to either climb under them or over them. There were spots where the trail was so grown in that you had to stop and look around for a piece of ribbon of the trees. We hiked for 4.5 hours until we came across the back country camping spots. There were 5 spots and 4 of them were already taken so we got lucky in regards to that. Our spot was right next to the rapids, so we knew that we were getting close to Kwasitchewan Falls. We had some snacks, sat by the water and then headed to bed, knowing that tomorrow we would get to see the biggest waterfall in Manitoba.
Mystery Lake (the hike the first day takes you close by the lake for the majority of the trail.)
Campsite; Log chairs & fireplace.
May 20, 2018
We woke up around 5 a.m on Sunday and took down the tent. Everyone else seemed to still be sleeping so we would have the falls all to ourselves. We had a quick bite to eat (protein bars are life-savers during hike trips) and continued on our way. Within the first 15 minutes of hiking, we came across Kwasitchewan Falls. There is a reason waterfalls are one of my favorite things about nature. I find the sound of the rushing water so soothing. Standing close to the edge of the falls, and feeling its power is such an awakening. The cool mist spraying on you. Everything about waterfalls makes me fall in love. We spent some time at the waterfall, just taking pictures and enjoying the early morning mist. After some time, we continued on, knowing that it was going to be a long hike back to the parking lot. We got a little lost on the way back, as the trail isn’t properly marked. It added about 30 minutes to our time but we still made it to the parking lot by 10:30 a.m. We slowly packed up the car and made our way to a small diner to get something to eat before heading back to the city. It was a great way to spend the long weekend, any opportunity I get to spend outside the city is worth it in my books.
Early morning rise to see the falls.
Bridge at the start/end of the trail.
Tips for hiking Pisew – Kwasitchewan
GPS Tracker of some sort. We got lucky with finding our way back, but it could have been a lot worse. It’s always good to have some sort of GPS as back up.
Hiking boots with good ankle support. Climbing over trees and up steep hills is tiresome on your feet, make sure you invest in a good shoe.
Snacks that are high in protein. You’ll need the energy to keep you going.
Backpack with proper straps. You won’t want a school backpack for this hike unless you enjoy a sore back.
Bear spray. Although the only wildlife we saw was a wild turkey and a chipmunk, it’s better to be safe then sorry.
CAMERA. Get up early and capture the sunrise. Take lots of pictures of the waterfalls.
Enjoy every minute. If you’re anything like me, the city is exhausting and drains your energy. Take this time in nature to re-charge.
Had to make Pascal stop on our way home so I could get a picture with this guy.
You gotta kiss a couple frogs…
Although the summer is half over, I still have a long list of hiking trails and adventures. I’m working on becoming more familiar with my camera and hopefully starting a vlog. If you have any tips for vlogging or any trail suggestions, I would love to hear them! Thanks for reading!
Hiking season is here, yay! This Sunday I will be doing hike number 4 and summer just started. I stumbled across a group on Instagram called hikerbabes and they were looking for ambassadors all across the world. I debated sending a bio in but finally just went for it and now I am the Winnipeg chapter ambassador! This Sunday will be our second hike as a group and it’s all about empowering and motivating women to get out and enjoy the great outdoors together. The lady who started hikerbabes also start the movement “journey to 100”. Basically you have to complete 100 hikes but there is no time frame, you complete the hikes on your own terms. I’m really loving the idea of the group so far and I can’t wait to see more women out on the trails.
Devils Punch Bowl (May 13, 2018)
My first hike of the season was back in May (thank goodness for all the great weather we’ve been having). Pascal and I decided to head to Devils Punch Bowl. It’s about a 2 hour drive outside the city. We made a wrong turn at first (we went into Spruce Woods Provincial Park, you need to drive past that turn off and then you’ll see a sign on the left hand side of the road for where you need to turn). It was a good day to hike there, not too hot but definitely still needed lots of water and snacks. The Devils Punch Bowl trail is 7km return. I consider the trail to be beginner level, with just a couple of steep parts. The trail is mostly sand so you WILL get sand in your shoes and you’ll want to have some shoes with good ankle support. There are lots of benches on the trail to take breaks and a bathroom in the parking lot and one at the halfway point on the trail. The highlight of the trail for me was getting to see some turtles sunbathing. The whole trail took us about 2 hours, with us taking breaks to take in views and read the information panels along the trail.
Devils Punch Bowl
Spirit Sands – Sand Dunes (June 2, 2018)
A couple of weeks after my first visit, I went back but this time with some women from my hikerbabes group to do our first hike as a group. We decided to do the sand dunes this time and we were not disappointed. It was cloudy which was good because it wasn’t so hot. We spent about 3 hours on the trail (we could have went a little further but it began to rain so we headed back). At the start of the trail there is a shelter area with picnic tables so we had lunch there together. We made sand angels and climbed sand hills. I would consider this part of the trail to be harder than devils punch bowl, more of an intermediate trail. If you only have time to do one of the trails, I would choose the sand dunes over devils punch bowl, as it has more of a desert feel to it, making it an interesting trail for the prairies.
Hikerbabes 100 Hike Challenger Patch
Stairs in the Sand
I will continue to write about my hiking adventures and I hope to get lots of hikes in before the warm weather passes (including some overnight hikes). If anyone has any recommendations of where to hike in and around Manitoba, let me know so I can explore. Also, if you’re interested in joining the hikerbabes movement, feel free to join the Winnipeg chapter on Facebook (just search hikerbabes community: Winnipeg, Canada on facebook) and join us on our next hike! Feel free to follow me on Instagram as well to keep up with my adventures, @coasttocoast709 .
Living in the city can be very exhausting, both mentally and physically. It always feels like everyone is in a rush to get somewhere. I am very much a small town girl so my next suggestion for the winter is to leave the city and enjoy the great outdoors. I did this by learning how to ski and going on a ski trip.When you think Winnipeg and Manitoba, you picture the boring, flat prairies. And although Manitoba is flat for the most part, there is some valleys and hills that make for a change of scenery and a great start if you’re a beginner at skiing like me.
Learning the Basics at Springhill:
I had been skiing twice before this year and the most recent time was 6 years ago. From my memory of skiing, it didn’t go too well. I remember having 1 instructor trying to teach 20 plus of us the basic. I lasted about 2 or 3 tries down the bunny hill both times and then ditched skiing to go hang out with my friends inside for the rest of the day. This time though, I was determined and motivated to learn. I booked a one on one lesson at Springhill which is in Oakbank, right outside the perimeter. It really isn’t much of a ski hill, with just one ski lift and 3 slopes but it was perfect for me to learn how to go down the hill and not die (which was my ultimate goal). I went on a Sunday and it wasn’t too busy. My instructor was very friendly and patient with me, even when it took me a couple of minutes to grab onto the tug rope because I argued that it was moving way too fast (it really wasn’t). For the whole day at Springhill I paid $59 which included the 1 hour ski lesson, lift pass and ski rentals. It was extremely cold on the day that we went, so we didn’t stay too much longer after my lesson. I made it through the lesson without falling down so I was feeling pretty confident and ready to take on Asessippi the next weekend. If only I had known how many times I was about to fall down on day 1 of Asessippi.
Asessippi ; Day One :
We stayed in a hotel in Russell, which is about 15 minutes outside of Asessippi. We arrived on Sunday evening and just spent the evening relaxing, preparing ourselves for our first day at the slopes. On Monday we headed there around 9:30am which is when the lifts open. It took us about an hour of waiting in line ups until we finally had all our equipment on and ready to go. There is one line up to pay, another line up for rentals and then another line up to get fitted for boots and skis. We all started off together doing the 2 of the easy trails. One of the easy trails however, was not so easy at the bottom. It got much steeper and I fell down every time I tried to do it. I tried doing the “pizza” technique to slow myself down but even that didn’t work and I ended up on my behind once again. I was getting more frustrated than I’d like to admit and was close to giving up within my first hour there. I was wearing my prescription glasses under my goggles, and my glasses were fogging up. I made the decision to ski with just my goggles on because I couldn’t see anything with my glasses fogging up. As long as I aimed for the white and avoided any other blobs of colors, I was fine. After that, I started to feel a lot better about skiing and enjoyed myself. Me and Julianne stayed together on the easy trails and let Pascal and Cole some of the harder ones, including some black diamonds. We stayed on the slopes until sometime around 3pm when we decided to head back to hotel and get some rest for the next day.
Asessippi ; Day Two
On Tuesday we avoided the line ups by paying for our ski rentals and lift passes the day before and just taking all our equipment back to the hotel with us Monday night. Highly recommend this if you are going to be renting for more than one day as it’ll save you a ton of time. We hit the slopes around 10am and Julianne and I stayed on the easy trails again but this time feeling a lot more confident than the day before. I did a couple different trails including one called “the plunge”. “The plunge” starts off really steep but you only go fast for about 5-10 seconds before slowing down on the flat part of the trail. It was really fun to experience and get used to the feeling of going faster. I downloaded a ski trekking app for Tuesday just for fun to see how fast I could go and how far we skied. My max speed was 31 km/hr and we skied a total of 10 km (2 1/2 hours). The best skier in our group went 69km/hr so I still have a long ways to go.
I don’t think I’ll ever be a black diamond skier but I’m willing to keep going back and learning. Who knows, maybe next winter I’ll end up in Banff. One thing that they don’t supply with the ski rentals is goggles so I recommend purchasing some before going or burrowing some from a friend like I did. They not only help with snow glare but help keep your face warm as well. You can also purchase anti-fogging ones, like these, which I would highly recommend as I found out skiing with fogged up glasses is not a fun time! Let me know in the comment section your skiing stories, your favorite ski hill and if you prefer skiing or snowboarding!